May 9, 2021

Napoli-bound Osimhen has set standard for Nigerian players – Elaho

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The 52-year-old has expressed his delight with the impact of the forward and feels other youngsters can follow in his footsteps

Former Nigeria international Friday Elahor has praised Napoli-bound striker Victor Osimhen for his contribution to Lille in 2019-20 season, urging other players to emulate him.  

The forward is close to sealing a move to the Parthenopeans for a fee believed to be around €81 million, having completed his medical with the side.

The Super Eagles striker delivered eye-catching performances in his debut campaign with the Stade Pierre-Mauroy outfit which generated interest from a number of European clubs.

The 21-year-old scored 18 goals and provided six assists in 38 appearances across all competitions and deservedly won the club’s Player of the Season award among other accolades.

Despite being in advanced negotiations with Napoli, Lille president Gerard Lopez, recently revealed the club is still receiving offers for the highly-rated striker.

Elaho, who had 14 caps for the Super Eagles, is impressed with the performances from the striker and lauded him for making Nigeria proud.

“I have been following the news about Osimhen going to Napoli, but I don’t know why the deal hasn’t been confirmed yet,” Elaho told the Guardian.

“Again, I think Osimhen has done well for himself and the country. Currently, he is the most rated Nigerian player in Europe. Other players I think should emulate him.

“I read recently that he changed his manager for his move to Napoli scale through. If his club is still reporting that some clubs are still coming for his signature despite his almost completed negotiations with Lille, it shows how good and important he is rated.

Elaho is backing Osimhen to play a key role for the Super Eagles during the Africa Cup of Nations and World Cup qualifiers.

The 52-year-old also believes the forward can clinch the Africa Player of the Year award in future if he can continue with his fine performances.

“Very soon the AFCON and World Cup qualifiers will begin, definitely Osimhen has a pivotal role to play towards Nigeria’s qualification for the tournaments,” he continued.

“I see him winning the Africa Footballer of the Year in the nearest future if he can maintain his form. Others should brace up to the challenge.”

After announcing himself at the 2015 U17 World Cup in Chile, where he won the Golden Boot and Silver Ball awards to help Nigeria win the title, he moved to German Bundesliga side Wolfsburg.

The forward then shone during his loan stay with Belgian club Sporting Charleroi, scoring 19 goals in 39 league games before the deal was made permanent.

His form earned him a move to Lille as a replacement for Ivory Coast international Nicolas Pepe, who teamed up with Premier League giants Arsenal.

Osimhen has nine caps for the Super Eagles and was part of Gernot Rohr’s team that finished third at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt.